It’s a name that perhaps won’t be familiar to many but Jelly Ellington may well be a name on the rise. Hailing from NC and basing himself in Texas, Ellington has created an album that seems destined to make you smile. Indeed if you could sum up the feeling you get from listening to his debut “All In” it may well be ‘joy’, ‘happiness’ or something similar.
Handclaps and a jangly guitar open up the album and it’s ‘Set Me Free’ that is arguably the best ‘connector’ here – sweet honeyed vocals, with a catchy dancey soundtrack – it’s the sort of song that welcomes you in. Sadly that thrust is immediately lost with the much slower and contemplative ‘Sunset’ which is by no means a bad song just a complete change of pace. ‘Let Go;’ that follows is similarly downplayed and slow-paced and is cut through with a horrible and unnecessary rap that for us renders it virtually unlistenable – the only song here that we won’t be playing again despite some cool guitar in the outro.
But after that blip it’s all good. ‘New Day’ adds a dose of jazz and makes solid use of both trumpet and guitar, whilst both ‘Crosstown’ and ‘Hard Times Coming Down’ add some enjoyable and accessible, light slightly bluesy, slighty funky rock. It’s the Americana of ‘Getaway’ though that might be the best thing here- it’s a lilting melody, soft, sweet and quite wonderful.
The album closes with ‘Wait For You’ the only real acoustic number here and therefore a little stuck out on its own, it’s a nice song sure, but treated differently it sounds more like a demo, and while the rest of the album flowed effortlessly together this sounds more like an afterthought, or maybe it leads the way forward?
Great debut if a little short at just eight songs.